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A Dryer Vent Cleaning Guide for Homeowners

Posted on October 28, 2014
by Wendy Stackhouse

Build-up in your dryer vent can lead to major problems. Knowing when to clean your clothes dryer vent and how you can prevent debris build-up in the ventilation system will keep your dryer vent working well and help to avoid the possibility of a fire.

Your clothes dryer, although extremely useful, can become a hazard if you do not properly maintain it. Poor maintenance can lead to inefficiency and malfunction. Even worse, a dryer can cause a house fire if the vent is not cleaned on a regular basis.

When To Clean Your Vent

There are several signs to look for that can tell you when it’s time for dryer maintenance. And as a general rule, you should go no longer than one year between vent cleaning services. When you dry a load of clothes, the following signs may indicate that it’s time for a cleaning:

  • Damp clothes at the end of a full drying cycle
  • Musty odor on your clothes
  • Extremely hot clothes at the end of a drying cycle
  • Long drying time
  • Large quantities of lint in the lint trap
  • Extreme heat in the laundry room while the dryer is running

If you notice any of these signs, you should immediately schedule a dryer vent cleaning.

Prevent Build-Up

there are several steps you can take to prevent build-up in your dryer vent. First, be careful when using dryer sheets and fabric softener; do not use more than necessary. Also, try not to run the dryer for more than 40 minutes at a time, and choose to air dry heavier items outdoors on a line or fence. In addition, you can place a grated ventilation cap on the outdoor vent to keep debris out. Regular, light cleanings also make a big difference in dryer performance. This can be done by using a vacuum to clean the inside of your dryer and the outside of dryer vents.

Proper Dryer Vent Cleaning

Most people remember to clean out the lint trap on a regular basis. Although this is important, there are other steps you should take to prevent problems. Check to see what type of material was used on the duct that connects the dryer to the main vent. Vinyl or plastic is easily flammable, so these types of ducts should be replaced with semi-rigid metal ducts. You should also check the vent on the outside of the house and make sure it is clear of any debris. If there is something blocking it, there is an increased risk of fire.

Having a technician come into your home and do a full dryer vent cleaning on a regular basis is the best way to keep your family safe. These technicians have the tools needed to clean out the debris that accumulate throughout the ventilation pipe. Using a vacuum tube and snake brush, the technician can loosen and remove any dirt that has accumulated. There are several bends and elbows in this pipe, and these areas can easily build-up debris and are hard to reach with regular household tools. The technician will clear these areas as well.

However, by doing your part to prevent debris build-up and cleaning your dryer vents regularly, your dryer will work better and your home will be safer.

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